Kaleb Benda is an upcoming conductor with a reputation for a passionate dedication to the music and enthralling performances. His dynamic interpretations encompass orchestra, choir, and wind band concert performances as well as opera and musical productions. Regarded for his expressive conducting technique and superb musicianship, Benda is a sought-after conductor with a growing stature.
Benda studied at Oklahoma City University, and the University of North Texas. He holds degrees in Masters of Music in Conducting, and Bachelors of Music in Music Education. His conducting professors include Dr. Matthew Mailman and Jeffrey Grogan. While at OCU he was the graduate conductor for the Symphony Orchestra, University Chorale, the Wind Philharmonic, and served as associate conductor of the Oklahoma Youth Winds. He also assisted with undergraduate conducting classes and conducted various smaller ensembles such as a chamber orchestra and renaissance orchestra. He served as the assistant conductor for the award-winning fall 2016 Mainstage Production of Hairspray, and the award-winning spring 2017 Mainstage Production of Dark Sisters.
Guest conducting engagements have included the Medomak Symphony, Centennial Orchestra, the UNT Wind Symphony, and the Edmond Santa Fe Band. During his work with the Centennial Orchestra, the ensemble participated in the Peak Music Festival where the judge’s remarked “Great style; lovely and rich sound; this is what…orchestras should strive for.”
Comfortable in any medium, Benda’s range of repertoire stretches from Renaissance music to works composed recently, and from symphonic works and concerti to pieces for concert band and choir. A champion for American music, Benda has conducted works by American composers such as Leonard Bernstein, Frank Ticheli, Aaron Copland, Michael Daugherty, Samuel Barber, and Nico Muhly. He served as assistant conductor for the Oklahoma premiere of Nico Muhly’s opera, Dark Sisters with the composer present. In 2015 Benda traveled to Budapest and Kecskemét Hungary where he spent some time studying at the Kodály Institute and observing music in the Hungarian school system and at the Liszt Academy. While in Budapest he was also afforded the opportunity to watch a dress rehearsal of the Hungarian State Opera House.
Dedicated to always developing his craft, he has attended the Conductors Retreat at Medomak, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Orchestral Conducting Workshop, the OCU Summer Conductors Symposium, and the UNT Conductors Collegium. He has also been accepted to the Pacific Northwest Conducting Institute, and the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra Summer Conducting Seminar. In 2012, he received two Oklahoma State Superintendents Arts Excellence Awards in Orchestra and Band; also in 2012, he received second place in the Oklahoma Youth Orchestra conducting competition. He was semi-finalist (2015) and finalist (2016,2017) for the The American Prize in Conducting.
Presently, Kaleb Benda serves as Assistant conductor of the Enid Symphony Orchestra and the Music Director at ST. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church.